What a cad!
No-one could blame Steven Woolfe for his decision to quit UKIP, but the way he did it is inexcusable.
To speak to the media about ‘bitter infighting’ and ‘factionalism’, and claiming the NEC is ‘not fit for purpose’ is an insult to all the members, not only of the NEC, but to every single member of the party – and especially to people like me.
I shall be fighting a local council by-election in two days’ time and have been campaigning hard to get elected, not through any sense of gaining kudos but because I believe in UKIP and what it stands for, and because we all know that having an MP elected is almost impossible without having local councillors.
I have a fantastic team of foot-soldiers, without whom I would not have been able to manage my campaign. Like me, they have been delivering leaflets, putting up posters and talking to people in an effort to get me elected, but did Steven consider how they would feel when he criticised the party? I think not! I would hope my chances of winning this seat have not been compromised, but that can now no longer be certain.
I am not going to say that our leadership is perfect – we are, after all, a very young party compared to the Conservatives, the Labour Party and the Liberals – and of course we have our problems, but I feel these should be ironed out behind closed doors. We shouldn’t wash our dirty linen in public.
If there is a problem with the NEC, then as Party Chairman, Paul Oakden should sort it out. He has written to members saying: “Our grassroots are now optimistically looking forward to getting behind our new leader,” adding that he and the committee have listened to the concerns of members during the last leadership election. Any member who joined the Party more than a month ago is eligible to stand for leadership before the closing date of October 31.
I hope he is right in that not only the grassroots will stand four-square behind the new leader but that the new leader will earn the support of the membership by strong, decisive leadership and by clamping down hard on those members who do not support the Party. Nobody can force you to belong to UKIP but if you don’t back the new leader, then perhaps it’s time you looked for another party to join!
One of the other things Steven said was that he thought the party was ‘ungovernable’ without Nigel Farage leading it.
Come on, Stephen!
Nigel worked his tail off to get the party, and the country, to where we are at the moment and he fully deserves to step back into his own life, at least for a while. To force him to continue with his leadership of the Party is spiteful, to say the least.
Steven is also quoted as saying: “I believe that a strong UKIP would hold this government’s feet to the fire and make sure it delivers a clean Brexit.” If that is his belief, why is he not going to help the rest of we Kippers to get to where we want to be – out of the EU?
And regarding the phrase “death spiral of their own making”, which Stephen also uttered: is he really that sore at the Party that he is prepared to contribute to its downfall?
UKIP is desperately needed, now more than ever, to keep the Conservatives to their Brexit promise and to ensure that the will of the British people – that we leave the EU – is met. As sure as eggs is eggs, without UKIP, the Prime Minister will fudge the whole issue and all our work to win the referendum will have been in vain.
There is no doubt that the other major political parties have their problems. Look at the Conservatives, who have Kenneth Clarke on one side of the political spectrum and people like the Wintertons on the other. But they’re all members of the same party and they seem to rub along quite nicely together. Perhaps they do have their differences but such disagreements are handled quickly and quietly.
As an experienced politician, Steven should have known that the media will home in on any discord in the Party. He would have been far better off saying nothing at all than criticising the Party that gave him so much. But no, he started with a challenge on Mike Hookem and when he lost that fight, he turned on his party. It is unfortunate that he had a couple of seizures and I hope he recovers quickly, but he should not have criticised UKIP so vehemently and so very publicly.
I am ashamed of him and I am glad that he has now quit UKIP!